June 13, 2007

How Insurance companies price your Car Insurance

Insurance can be an adversarial business relationship, unfortunately. In some circumstances, the more your insurer knows about you, the higher the rate they will charge you. This gives them every incentive to ferret out information pertinent to your insurance risks -- or what they believe affects your insurance risks, anyway.

A Consumerist article gives insight into the privacy implications and pricing strategy of auto insurance.

Note that insurance companies access the following databases to actuarially determine liklihood of an insurance claim: CLUE report, credit report, and driving history.

As with credit reports, a critical source of information is what you tell the insurance company:

Driving histories go back 36 months, except in New York (which is 40 months). Your history is composed from three reports; your MVR or Motor Vehicle Report, the state database of your ticketed driving history; your CLUE report, a collection of previous insurance companies reports stating the numbers of claims you've had, and YOU. If you say you got in an accident, were never sited for it and never claimed it on your insurance, but you still tell us, it'll be put on your record with an approximate date.

Credit score and insurance rates

It is illustrative how your credit report affects your insurance score, and thus your insurance rates. By 2001, 92% of insurers were considering credit scores when quoting insurance.

Remember that information you give to an insurance company may well end up on your credit report. Along with the usual distinguishing characteristics (name, date of birth, SSN or other national number), insurers will likely report your submitted information to the credit reporting bureay. This could happen even if you're just getting an insurance quote, and needs to be taken into account if you're keeping your street address confidential.

Complete truthfulness doesn't always pay when it comes to dealing with insurers who will collect every personal detail to accurately assess you with their actuarial tables.

Bermuda to track road vehicles with RFID

RFID Journal reports that the Caribbean nation of Bermuda plans to tag registered cars and trucks with RFID transponders to increase road registration compliance and revenues.

The ISO 18000-6B standardized, 915 MHz tags will be embedded in tamper-resistant windscreen stickers, and are made by 3M. The laser readers placed by the side of the road are made by Transcore.

Sabotaging the RFID tag is ineffective because the RFID interrogation is combined with an ANPR system:

If a car arrives at an intersection and no interrogation of an RFID tag can be performed, the system will take a picture of the car's license plate. Using optical character recognition software, the system will read the vehicle's plate numbers and input them into a database so a citation can be automatically issued. The same system will be employed to detect commercial vehicles operating in restricted areas during rush hour without permits.

Bermuda's Transport Control Department expects that all of the island nation's registered cars should be RFID tagged by June 2008. Motorcycles will be exempt from the RFID tagging requirement, though authorities may later decide to being them into the program.

The privacy implications of the mandated RFID transponders are profound. It is very feasible for groups unassociated with Bermuda's Transport Control Department to develop the ability to read the RFID tags and track specific automobiles by their electronic ID. In fact, an older version of this technology was used by a United States intelligence agency during the Cold War to track Soviet attaches whenever they crossed one of a handful of Washington, D.C. bridges and passed outside the 20-mile unrestricted transit limit.

June 12, 2007

Confessions of a Money Launderer

Money launderer Kenneth Rijock kept a low profile and
avoided creating a paper trail despite constant financial entanglements
for his clients:

"I maintained absolutely no bank accounts in the US, operating on a strict cash payment basis to ensure that no records of any business transactions for criminal clients existed. This is much harder that it sounds, for though one might use third-party accounts that don't alert law enforcement investigators, it is more prudent to avoid it all together. I had no US bank accounts for five years, using an overseas tax haven account to obtain cashier's cheques drawn on a New York correspondent account very sparingly, and only for totally innocent personal transactions."

"Own nothing in your own name: rent your home and office, either lease an automobile or place it in the name of a third party. In short, make enquiries of your assets more difficult to discover, and information about your operation more difficult to link to you or your clients. If possible, reduce your profile even more by closing out legitimate business, whilst maintaining a fictitious facade that legitimate business is ongoing. return all telephone calls, but decline new business due to purported schedule overload."